How to find school experience

Published 22 April 2021
By Get Into Teaching

A photograph of a school playground

Experiencing life in a school and a classroom can help you to decide whether teaching is right for you.

While COVID-19 measures may impact how schools run their school experience, many now promote a virtual offer and some have returned to in-school experiences.

Spending some time at a school can give you valuable first-hand experience of what a career in teaching might be like; you may be able to observe classroom teaching and pastoral work. Some virtual offers invite you to speak to teachers about day-to-day school life, review videos of lessons and receive online training materials.

Requesting school experience

If you would like to request school experience, you can visit the Get school experience service. By entering your postcode, you can find schools in your area that offer opportunities, and you can filter these by the subject and age group you are looking to teach. You will also be able to see whether the offer is virtual or in-school.

Once you have selected a school, you can view more information about their placement availability and any requirements they may have. Some schools may charge fees to cover their costs and you may be required to have a DBS check.

You can request a booking by inputting your details for your chosen school to review. They may contact you for further information.

I volunteered at a local primary school for two days a week and from the moment I walked into my first class, it felt very natural to be interacting with children.

Zainab Kasmani, trainee primary school teacher.

Other opportunities

If none of the search results are quite right for you, you might consider finding virtual experiences and other online opportunities. Many school and training provider websites have helpful information like ‘day in the life’ videos and recorded lessons. You can find out more about school experience options and what to do if you cannot get into the classroom right now.

You can also arrange school experience independently, by contacting your old school or, if you’re a student, checking whether your university has any existing links with local schools. Alternatively, you could contact a school directly. Start by using the Get information about schools service to find schools in your area. Try to find out who is responsible for school experience to make sure your request goes to the right person. Bear in mind that schools are busy places, so they may not always respond quickly and you may need to be flexible about when you visit.

Beyond the classroom, there are other ways to gain valuable experience of working with young people. Sports coaching, youth groups, after-school clubs or other volunteering activities are great opportunities that may be easier to fit around work and other commitments.

To start your request for school experience, head to the Get school experience service now.

If you’re a school or training provider that would like to know more about joining the Get school experience service please email organise.school-experience@education.gov.uk.

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